Ruth Saunders with her truck, kite board and dog Mila, a mini Shar-Pei at Clover Point. Don Denton photography

Ruth Saunders with her truck, kite board and dog Mila, a mini Shar-Pei at Clover Point. Don Denton photography

The Evolution of Ruth Saunders

Financial advisor is also a mixed martial arts athlete, a kite boarder and body builder

  • Sep. 10, 2018 10:10 a.m.

Athlete and financial advisor Ruth Saunders is an enigma. She is warm, ferocious, vulnerable, fearless, funny and direct. A fighter in every sense of the word, Ruth is no stranger to life’s occasional inadequacies, but she transforms them into fuel and pushes herself to explore the limits of her strength.

“There have been some rocky moments in my life,” Ruth says humbly. “Lifting weights became a natural therapy for me and I think my sports are another huge outlet. You could have the worst day in the world and walk into the gym and you just give it everything you have; leave it in a pile of sweat on the mats and when you walk out, you don’t have the energy to be anything. It’s the very best therapy.”

Ruth’s dedication translates into her day job. She is one of the most proficient financial advisors with Island Savings (a division of First West Credit Union) and attributes her success to her drive and relentless commitment to everything she does.

And as a busy single mother of two boys, she has learned to tackle the throws of life head-on.

“I started wrestling in high school. I really liked the physical aspect of the sport,” she says.

From wrestling with the boys in high school, Ruth began training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). For the last 12 years, she’s worked with a tight-knit group of men in Victoria.

“I’ve always wanted to be treated like one of the boys. I have always said, ‘Don’t hold back, don’t treat me different. Give me 110 per cent like you would any other guy,’” Ruth says with an impressive tenacity in her voice.

Ruth explains that her patience and defensive skills give her an advantage as a fighter.

“I train so much with bigger, stronger, faster guys, I don’t have a ton of opportunity for offence. I’m patient. I look for an opportunity to go for a submission. And I don’t give up. There is absolutely no quit in me.

The athlete divulges proof that hard work pays off with a number of wins in various bodybuilding and MMA competitions. Ruth first discovered her knack for competition in 2010 when she won a round-robin style MMA event.

“That event gave me a thrill for competing, and qualified me for the Western Canadians in 2011, in Vancouver,” she says.

The Western Canadians went extremely well for Ruth; she won all of her divisions in the 2011 competition. With two substantial competition wins under her belt, she set a goal to go to the World Martial Arts Games in Austria.

“I am very goal-oriented. I have always believed in setting a personal goal and going for it.”

Unfortunately, while the tenacious athlete made Team Canada for the World Martial Arts Games, she would never have the opportunity to compete.

“I broke my leg three weeks outside of the competition. I didn’t want to pull out. My trainer modified my training so I could keep going. So I kept training and broke it again,” says Ruth.

While Ruth didn’t make it to the World Martial Arts Games, she was offered a professional contract for an MMA super fight league out of Mumbai, India.

Ruth focussed on her training while waiting for her visa to be processed — but the Indian Consulate misplaced Ruth’s, her coach’s and corner man’s passports for two months.

“Training for fight camps is no joke. I was so burnt out after waiting those two months that I needed to take a break and be nice to my body,” explains Ruth.

Ruth Saunders with her kite for kite surfing and dog Mila on the Victoria waterfront. Don Denton photography.

Without skipping a beat, she turned her focus back to bodybuilding and discovered the therapeutic benefits of kitesurfing.

“I’ve always been drawn to very aggressive, adrenalin-based sports. I would sit and watch the kite surfers on Dallas Road after I had started surfing and I was like ‘I have to do this,’” she says with a laugh.

Ruth learned the sport at Nitinat Lake on Vancouver Island, where kitesurfing schools are located.

“It’s terrifying learning when you are so vulnerable and trusting something that can hurt you. And yet learning and realizing you are in control and letting go of your fear and anxiety and be under your own power — it’s unbelievably liberating. When taught right, it is great, safe, fun and healing,” she says.

Ruth will be running women’s weekend kitesurf camps with her girlfriend— who is a professional kitesurf athlete — with the intention of helping other women.

“So many women are survivors of emotional, mental and physical abuse in some sense. The one thing that I have found that is so healing, is being out on the water and being under the power of something that is so incredibly strong and freeing, and being able to control that. It is incredible to shift that control.”

She adds: “My passion is to work with women who are survivors.”

With an ever-growing list of goals to pursue and lives to change, the evolution of Ruth Saunders continues. Ruth has yet to find the limit of her strength, and her journey to discover the depth of her power as a human being promises to be an even better story in the years to come.

-Story by Chelsea Forman/Boulevard Magazine

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Body BuilderbodybuildingFinancial AdvisorIsland savingsKite BoardKite BoardingKitesurfingmixed-martial artsMMARuth SaundersShar PeiSportsWeight lifting

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were 164 more overdose calls in Greater Victoria in 2020 than in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria sees increase in overdose calls in 2020

Official says most deaths are in the suburbs, in garages and bedrooms

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on Greater Victoria nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of local hospital nurses

Lisa Love, left, and Dana Livingstone of the Wildlife Advocates Collective want to establish wildlife corridors along Sooke Road. The group wants to start with the new highway reconstruction project between Connie Road and Glinz Lake Road in Sooke. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
How creating wildlife crossings can help deer, bears – and even amphibians

Dana Livingstone knows the dangers wild animals can pose to drivers on… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Flowers poke through the snow in Courtenay as the area got a taste of winter weather this week. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Vancouver Island not out of the winter woods quite yet: meteorologist

“It’s winter; we’ve got to get through it together.”

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read